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Staying cool

I can’t remember a summer this hot, although to be fair my short-term memory is not all that great. Let’s just say I can’t remember a summer this hot since I moved to Whistler three years ago.

I can’t remember a summer this hot, although to be fair my short-term memory is not all that great.

Let’s just say I can’t remember a summer this hot since I moved to Whistler three years ago.

Suddenly I’m wearing a T-shirt and shorts IN THE NIGHTTIME! I carry a fan from work to home to work again in my backpack. I’m tossing and turning because it’s so hot in the house.

The bike trails, which usually fluctuate between soft mud and slightly harder mud, are literally turning to dust and blowing away – not that you can ride them between nine in the morning and five at night without coming down with heat stroke.

As a pure-blooded Canadian with maple syrup in my veins and a rich pelt of fur, I’m not what you would call good in the heat. I’m prone to sunburns, dehydration, seeing spots before my eyes and passing out.

Fortunately I’m not alone in this. While most locals are frolicking on beaches and letting it all hang out on nude docks, we have lain around, wrapped in wet towels and sucking on pieces of ice waiting for the sun to go down so we can go outside.

As always, the Internet is loaded with useful information on how to cope with the heat, and distractions for when it’s just too hot to go outside.

Being outside…

Working and playing outdoors during the summer can lead to sunburns, dehydration and, in extreme cases, heatstroke.

It might take a while to type in this URL, but it’s a great starting point to understand the physiological and mental effects of heat on a human body at rest, at work and at play. Follow the links for more information.

With last year’s death of Korey Stringer – an offensive tackle on the Minnesota Vikings who died during summer training – coaches, athletes and medical personnel are taking the issue of heat-related illnesses more seriously than ever before. As a result you can probably zero in on some information that is specific to your needs.

This is an interesting article on how the Canadian Cycling Team handled the heat at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, a city known for it’s hot weather and humidity. The cyclists won five medals that year, so there must be something to it.

More importantly, it’s specifically about cycling, which is where you’ll find a lot of Whistler residents on a sunny afternoon.

Cool your space…

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy put together a list of ways to cool your homes without resorting to a power-sucking, CFC-spewing air conditioning unit. Some of the ideas require a bit of investment, while others merely suggest better ways to position fans.

Heat distractions…

Unless you’re a fan of golf or baseball on television, there isn’t much to do when you’re stuck indoors because it’s too hot to go outside. That doesn’t mean you have to sit around staring into space, passing in and out of consciousness while the flies circle.

When I was young and even more prone to sun burns than I am now, my parents looked at the summer as an opportunity to get me into arts and crafts and try out various hobbies. Some of those hobbies took, and even now I think of summer as a time to play guitar, read books, write creatively, and make things. I haven’t made much this summer I confess, but I plan to.

Need a hobby? Visit and get a sampling of the different kinds of hobbies you can take up, everything from making soap to drawing to operating radio controlled vehicles.

Want to teach yourself guitar? This is one of the better sites I’ve ever come across for six-string wannabes with free lessons, and little digital features that can help you do everything from tune your guitar to get your timing down.

How Stuff Works has thousands of in-depth lessons on how things work, from computer processors to bird houses. It’s an essential resource for any hobbyist or curious person.

This isn’t really a summer site per se, but ever since I learned of its existence I’ve been tuning in for the latest episodes. It’s like an online comic book in which four characters come together to solve a mystery and battle an unknown foe. The drawings are beautiful, the Flash animation is nothing short of revolutionary, and the story, although it starts off slow, is gripping. If you’re stuck inside anyway it’s not a bad way to spend some time.

The real access Hollywood

Summer movies are the mainstay of Hollywood, and summer music is the mainstay of the music industry. The widespread theft and distribution of copyrighted movies and music on the Web has spurred the U.S. Congress to consider a bill that would allow groups like the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America to hack into computers they believe are sharing their copyrighted materials.

While they won’t be able to erase files – although that hasn’t been ruled out at this point – they will have the authority to shut down peer-to-peer networks that are being used to share the files. It also protects the Hollywood hackers if they accidentally erase any files.

If that doesn’t give you the chills, I don’t know what will.